First time nominees dominate 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist

The 2021 shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced at a virtual event overnight. This year’s shortlist is one for the newcomers, with none of the six shortlisted authors having been previously shortlisted for the Prize.

The six strong shortlist, which was selected by Chair of judges, Bernardine Evaristo and her judging panel – Elizabeth DayVick Hope, Nesrine Malik, and Sarah-Jane Mee – includes two British authors, two Americans, one Barbadian, and one Ghanian/American author. Here is what Evaristo said about the shortlist:

Coming up with a longlist of sixteen books for this prize was relatively easy compared to whittling the selection down to six novels, which by necessity demands more consensus. Sadly, we had to lose so many exceptional books that we loved. However, with this shortlist, we are excited to present a gloriously varied and thematically rich exploration of women’s fiction at its finest. These novels will take the reader from a rural Britain left behind to the underbelly of a community in Barbados; from inside the hectic performance of social media to inside a family beset by addiction and oppression; from a tale of racial hierarchy in America to a mind-expanding tale of altered perceptions. Fiction by women defies easy categorisation or stereotyping, and all of these novels grapple with society’s big issues expressed through thrilling storytelling. We feel passionate about them, and we hope readers do too.”

Here are the six shortlisted titles for 2021:

  • The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
  • Piranesi – Susanna Clarke
  • Unsettled Ground – Claire Fuller
  • Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi
  • How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House – Cherie Jones
  • No One Is Talking About This – Patricia Lockwood

The winner of the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced on Wednesday July 7th.

You can join all six authors, hosted by author Kate Mosse, at a 2021 Virtual Shortlist Festival on the 14th-16th June. Tickets are available HERE.

Header Image: Women’s Prize for Fiction

Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.